Surveillance Technology and Military-type Equipment Study Committee

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(Original Charge)

The Committee shall study the issues associated with surveillance technology and military-type equipment, including the use of such equipment in Brookline and any local, state, or federal policies or regulations governing them. Warrant Articles 28, 29, and 30 should not be the starting point of the study, rather the committee will start fresh, looking at the often different issues presented by surveillance technology and military-type equipment as they relate to the particular realities of Brookline not scenarios that may unfold in other less progressive jurisdictions. The Committee's tasks shall include:

  1. To produce "an inventory of all surveillance technology and military-type equipment" used or available for use by the police department or other Town departments, including (i) type, (ii) purpose and uses, (iii) capabilities, including, without limitation, picture resolution and mobility of surveillance devices, (iv) required training, (v) location of, and period of time any video or other images are retained, (vi) location of military-type equipment and who has access to such equipment, (vii) accessibility rights or restrictions on access by the public of surveillance products, and (viii) any other information that the Committee determines to be necessary for the preparation of its Report.
  2. To distinguish technologies and equipment that need high level oversight from those that require less or no oversight, such as security cameras in the library or schools or computer monitoring software that is used to protect students.
  3. To review surveillance and data gathering by regional or national organizations, such as the Boston Regional Information Center, and determine whether Brookline's voluntary or involuntary relationships with such organizations needs additional oversight, transparency, or controls.
  4. To examine existing state laws and regulations and Town bylaws governing private cameras and existing practices in Brookline and include in its recommendations any suggested protections that the Town can provide against their misuse.
  5. To review police department policies and procedures, bylaw provisions, and any union or other contract provisions as they relate to surveillance technologies, including body cameras, cruiser mounted cameras, and street surveillance cameras, and military-type equipment.
  6. To collect and review explanatory and technical information as necessary in the performance of the Committee's tasks and consult with experts or other knowledgeable persons on the subjects of this Charge.
  7. To produce the Report for submission to the Select Board. In preparing its Report, the Committee shall (i) hold at least one public hearing and take for its consideration the comments of the public, (ii) prepare a draft of the Report with a preliminary list of recommendations, incorporating any appropriate comments from the public hearing, (iii) present the preliminary recommendations to the Chief of Police, Town Counsel, and the Town Administrator for their comment as to feasibility and compliance with Town bylaws, contractual obligations, or federal or state requirements, and (iv) meet to vote on the final Report, including recommendations that incorporate any agreed comments of the Chief of Police, Town Counsel, and the Town Administrator.